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As Migrant Crisis Escalates, Germany Says Refugees Cannot Choose Where To Settle

BERLIN/MUNICH, Sept 13 (Reuters) – German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said refugees streaming into Europe should not be able to choose where to settle, as authorities said thousands more were on the move across the continent on Sunday.

Germany, Europe’s largest and richest economy, has been a magnet for many people fleeing war and poverty in Syria and other parts of the Middle East and Africa. Police said around 13,000 migrants arrived in Munich alone on Saturday, and another 1,400 on Sunday morning.

In an interview with German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, de Maizière said refugees given protection in Europe should accept that they will be distributed across the bloc.

“We can’t allow refugees to freely choose where they want to stay – that’s not the case anywhere in the world,” he said.

“It also can’t be our duty to pay benefits laid out in German law to refugees who have been allocated to one EU country and then come to Germany anyway,” he added.

Interior ministers from the EU’s 28 member states are meeting in Brussels on Monday to discuss proposals from the EU’s executive Commission to redistribute about 160,000 asylum seekers across the bloc.

Authorities in neighboring Austria said they were expecting thousands of new arrivals on Sunday – many in the past have headed straight on to Germany.

GERMAN TENSIONS

Tensions are rising in Germany, where states have complained about the growing burden of coping with Europe’s worst refugee crisis in decades.

German EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger told newspaper Welt am Sonntag that Germany should reduce benefits for asylum seekers to reduce the numbers coming across its borders.

Read the rest of the piece by Michelle Martin and Jens Hack here.

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